Alexandria: Library of Dreams






Alexandria: Library of Dreams

Bagnall, Roger S. (Professor of Classics and History Columbia University)

PROCEEDINGS OF THE AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, VOL. 146, NO. 4, DECEMBER (2002)

Abstract

My title does not intend to suggest that the Alexandrian Library did not exist, but it does point to what I regard as the unreal character of much that has been said about it. The disparity between, on the one hand, the grandeur and importance of this library, both in its reality in antiquity and in its image both ancient and modern, and, on the other, our nearly total ignorance about it, has been unbearable. No one, least of all modern scholars, has been able to accept our lack of knowledge about a phenomenon that embodies so many human aspirations. In consequence, a whole literature of wishful thinking has grown up, in which scholars


About History of the Ancient World